The Constitution Unit




Parliament lies in the heart of British politics. Yet calls for parliamentary reform – of both the House of Commons and House of Lords – have been frequent, and both chambers have often been accused of weakness. The Unit's research has investigated possible reforms to both chambers, as well as the effects of reforms that have previously taken place. In addition, much of our recent work has focused on parliament's impact on policy.

The Constitution Unit's work on Parliament is led by Professor Meg Russell

Research Areas

House of Lords

The Changing Role of the House of Lords

Ongoing research on the strength, legitimacy, influence and membership of the House of Lords, including a record of all defeats in the Lords from 2005 to present. You can also view our records of all government defeats in the House of Lords.

House of Commons

An Elaborate Rubber Stamp? The Impact of Parliament on Legislation

A major research project on the legislative process which considers the impact of parliament on legislation before and after coalition government.

English Parliament Research

Options for an English Parliament

Ever since the establishment of the devolved assemblies in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland in the late 1990s some have proposed that England too should have a parliament of its own.

Financial Privilege

Research into the House of Commons' use of financial privilege against amendments passed to legislation in the Lords.

Legislative Committees at Westminster: The Case for Reform

Meg Russell's comparative project on the role and operation of Legislative Committees.

The Impact of House of Commons Select Committees

A collaboration between Constitution Unit and Select Committee staff which combines interviews with data collection and analysis of the impact of committee inquiries and recommendations. Our final report, released in 2011, concluded that Select Committees influence government by, among other things, 'generating fear'. 

Parliamentary research archive

A list of all our earlier parliament research projects